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Laos forum

How to get from Laos to Vietnam by road

Posted by Joanna_S on 6/9/2012 at 15:03

Hi all,
I am trying to plan my trip through Laos and it's proven a nightmare!
I was planning to take a bus from Vientaine to Luang Prabang, then a boat to Nong Khiaw, then another boat to Muang Khua and here I have a slight problem. Is it doable to get from there to Don Bien Phu and then to Hanoi? If so, can you tell me what the route would be as I assume there are no direct busses, and how long each journey from A to B would take? My Lonely Planet guide is not very precise and says different things.
I would be very grateful!

#1 Joanna_S has been a member since 1/3/2012. Posts: 28

Posted by MADMAC on 6/9/2012 at 15:42

No matter how you slice it or dice it (and Rufus here can give you details - maybe you should PM him), it's going to be painful. Northern Laos was made for moving slowly - very slowly.

#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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Posted by Joanna_S on 7/9/2012 at 02:31

Thanks for the reply. I noticed that it might be painful and slow and I don't mind it at all, but I need to be in Hanoi on a certain day and am worried that I won't make it and will be stranded somewhere in laos instead.

#3 Joanna_S has been a member since 1/3/2012. Posts: 28

Posted by MADMAC on 7/9/2012 at 12:29

Definitely talk to Rufus on timelines, but if you need to be there for sure and time is tight - fly.

#4 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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Posted by Joanna_S on 7/9/2012 at 12:41

Sorry, I'm quite new here: who is Rufus and how do I reach him?

#5 Joanna_S has been a member since 1/3/2012. Posts: 28

Posted by wanderingcat on 7/9/2012 at 16:15

Muang Khua > Dien Bien Phu : daily bus that leaves early in the morning. fare used to be 50,000 kip but might have increased by now. used to take anywhere from 7 h to 2 days when the road was unpaved, but most of it is now paved so things should be much better.

there's also a direct Oudomxay ( Udomxai ) > Muang Khua > Dien Bien Phu bus, supposedly daily now: (but don't know how many seats left by the time it reaches Muang Khua)

expect delays on the roads during the rainy season, & delays due to all sorts of other reasons when travelling in Laos :) there are no guaranteed departures for boats on the Nam Ou, though it's possible to travel from LPB to Muang Khua by road. if you absolutely need to be somewhere on a certain day & can't plan for a spare 'back up' day & leave a day or two earlier just in case, fly.

guidebooks are just guides, & often outdated by the time they are printed. some have quite a few errors too. Google is everyone's friend, i get the latest info by searching for recent trip reports on blogs & forums e.g.

1. enter destination names into ---> sort results by date

2. Google search "destination name"+"forum name" ---> sort results by date (by clicking 'More search tools' on the left ---> select 'past week/month/year/etc') name can be travelfish, thorntree, etc.

3. use Google to search travel forums for past posts ---> Google search " destination name" ---> sort results by can be,, etc.

for 1-3, if looking for bus or boat or other details, just add +boat or +bus or +guesthouse or +whatever else to your search terms.

#6 wanderingcat has been a member since 21/10/2006. Posts: 730
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Posted by Rufus on 7/9/2012 at 21:42

I am Rufus, (woof). As WSC states, the trip takes about 12 hours or so.
Lonely Planet is a waste of time. When is this trip? It has been bucketing down over the last few days, so expect lots of delays. Fly if you have a tight timeline.

#7 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 978
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Posted by Joanna_S on 8/9/2012 at 02:26

Wanderingcat-thank you so much for this detailed information! very helpful!
Rufus - Hi, thanks for getting back to me :) I'm going in January - so still a few months to go-but I thought I start planning the trip as I'm also going to Burma, Thailand and Vietnam. I looked at the whole trip in more detail yesterday and it looks like I'm going to have a few days extra to use, so I guess I'll be able to make it on time to Hanoi. any info on the busses etc will be appriciated.

#8 Joanna_S has been a member since 1/3/2012. Posts: 28

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